And so, as we make another journey into the unknown we discover the seventh part of this epic tale. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet, still so many films that keep cropping up from the depths of my memory saying “Hey, don’t forget about me”. The hardest thing about this isn’t choosing the films, they take care of themselves, its compiling the actual entries. I’ve generated them in batches of ten to make it easier to keep score (not that I am keeping score!!) and am trying not to put too many similar style films together in the same batch which is difficult when the majority of my favourites are by the same directors or feature the same actors! What I want is a bit of variety, switching from one film to the other randomly and creating odd little families of films. Anyway, as I seem to be waffling on about very little, let’s crack on…
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)
A toon hating detective is a cartoon rabbit’s only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder in this multi-coloured adventure from Robert Zemeckis. With a mix of live action and animation, Zemeckis creates a world where cartoons and humans live together totally believable. Bob Hoskins plays Eddie Valiant, a washed up detective hired by Roger Rabbit to follow his wife, Jessica, whom he thinks is playing pattycakes with someone else. What follows is your typical gumshoe story but told with comedy and cartoons.
WATCH IT FOR: The brilliant mix of animation and live action
What would happen if aliens existed and they made contact? This is the basic idea behind this epic sci-fi adventure from Steven Spielberg. Richard Dreyfuss plays Roy Neary, a normal guy who happens to see something in the night sky that changes his life. What follows is a personal journey of discovery and enlightenment as seen through the eyes of everyday people that challenges what we believe. As ever, John Williams provides some outstanding work on the score that acts as another character in the film.
WATCH IT FOR: Great moments like this
Billy’s new pet that his dad got for him from Chinatown has three simple rules: No water; No bright lights and Never feed him after midnight. As you’d expect, things don’t go to plan and all hell breaks loose. Director Joe Dante has created a brilliantly funny and comically scary adventure with one cute hero and a multitude of less-cute offspring. Gremlins is one of those films that you can return to time and again and never get tired of, despite it being thirty years old!
WATCH IT FOR: Gremlins in the kitchen
A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the Last Twinkie and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America in this rip-roaring zombie-fest from director Ruben Fleischer. The comedy outweighs the scariness of the undead thanks to its four leads Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. America’s answer to Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland is a sweet, modern classic.
WATCH IT FOR: Twinkies!
Possibly Alfred Hitchcock‘s most shocking movie, Psycho tells the story of a young secretary (Janet Leigh) who steals $40,000 from her employer and goes on the run. She then checks in to a remote motel run by a young man (Anthony Perkins) under the thumb of his domineering mother. Rightly regarded as a classic, this film has seen sequels and remakes but nothing stands up against the original.
WATCH IT FOR: That scene!
This mind-bending trip of a movie from Christopher Nolan is full of rich imagery and magnificent concepts that promise to twist your melon. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology and is subsequently hired to plant an idea into the mind of a CEO. Its all very complicated but by the end of the film you feel like questioning your own version of reality.
WATCH IT FOR: The mind-blowing special effects!
STAR WARS (1977)
This western in space from director George Lucas sees Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) join forces with a Jedi Knight (Alec Guinness), a cocky pilot (Harrison Ford), a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from the evil Darth Vader.
WATCH IT FOR: The magnificent space battles
Two homicide detectives, one a rookie the other a veteran on the verge of retirement, hunt a serial killer whose method is based on the seven deadly sins. Be warned, this film is gruesome but is also extremely gratifying. Director David Fincher gives us a dark, twisted tale that has since been imitated many times but never bettered. From the sinister opening titles to the shocking denoument, Se7en is a chilling movie that lingers long in the memory.
WATCH IT FOR: Morgan Freeman’s understated performance
THE NAKED GUN (1988)
Up until his scene-stealing performance in Airplane! Leslie Nielsen had been a creditable dramatic actor. Everything changed after that and his inner comic surfaced and provided us with one of cinemas greatest creations, Lt. Frank Drebin. Originally seen in the tv series Police Squad, Drebin is an incompetent detective who is assigned to prevent the assassination of Queen Elizabeth II. Packed with all the gags you’d expect from the makers of Airplane!, and featuring a stellar supporting cast that includes George Kennedy and Priscilla Presley, The Naked Gun provides laugh after laugh every single time.
WATCH IT FOR: Leslie Nielsen’s deadpan performance
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968)
From the creative minds of Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming this entertaining family musical has stood the test of time. Dick Van Dyke stars as a hapless inventor who finally succeeds with a flying car only to be chased by a dictator from a foreign land who wants the car for himself. Stuffed with memorable tunes and set pieces, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a wonderful movie that you can watch again and again.
WATCH IT FOR: Dick Van Dyke
And, as another countdown draws to a close we look forward to the next ten. What films could possibly feature next? There’s only one way to find out…